Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World

 

In 2015, APEC will expand the region’s growth story to include a vision of economic prosperity and interconnectedness felt at all levels—beginning at the grassroots. As regional economic integration continues to take form and strengthen, APEC 2015 will orient policies and initiatives through the prism of its inclusive growth strategy. Integration, as such, will be defined and advanced not only for the benefit of economies but also for the people that drive economic growth.

 

 

The pursuit of trade and investment liberalization, business facilitation, and economic and technical cooperation will be guided by the goal of democratizing the fruits of economic growth – empowering individuals, businesses and communities to take advantage of the opportunities of regional economic integration, as well as withstand and address economic risks and challenges such as rising income gaps, economic inequity, natural disasters, and food security.

 

Under the theme “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World,” APEC 2015 will focus on the following key priorities:

 

• Enhancing the Regional Economic Integration Agenda

• Fostering Small and Medium Enterprises’ Participation in Regional and Global Markets

• Investing in Human Capital Development

• Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities

 

Enhancing the Regional Economic Integration Agenda

 

Following APEC’s multi-year initiative towards the Bogor Goals of free trade and investment, and the realization of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), APEC 2015 will expand the regional economic integration agenda to include initial building blocks such as the collective strategic study on the FTAAP, and forward-looking plans based on the review of APEC’s Growth Strategy, among others.

 

APEC initiatives will focus on connectivity and trade facilitation, particularly in areas that will promote trade in services and the ease of doing business. Structural reform, financial inclusion measures, and good governance will also place high on the agenda to support efforts to build more inclusive value and production chains in the APEC region.

 

Fostering SMEs’ Participation in Regional and Global Markets

 

 

Recognizing the potential of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to generate employment and serve as engines of economic development, APEC 2015 will place SMEs front and center on the trade liberalization and facilitation agenda. SMEs, which comprise more than 90 percent of businesses in many economies, are key stakeholders in regional economic integration particularly in reaping the benefits of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)/Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs). While SMEs are most at risk to economic shocks and challenges of globalization, they continue to adapt as sources of innovative business models and new technologies.

 

To support the entrepreneurial nature of SMEs and their valuable contribution to overall economic growth, APEC will align its capacity-building initiatives to the needs of SMEs. APEC will continue to support SMEs through trade facilitation measures to link SMEs to global value chains and promote their full participation in markets by removing barriers to entry and promoting greater access to finance, technology, training programs and tools.

 

Investing in Human Capital Development

 

APEC underscores the importance of investing in human capital development in achieving sustained and broad-based growth. Recognizing that economic growth is anchored by the quality of its human resources, APEC 2015 will continue to pursue the long-term goal of building a skilled and adaptable APEC community through cross-border education, science and technology-based education and skills development, and innovation-driven capacity-building programs.

 

Placed within the context of new technologies that increase the volume, velocity and variety of knowledge and information flows, APEC’s human capital development initiatives will be designed to foster economic competitiveness coupled with equal opportunity. APEC looks to enhanced cooperation between education providers and businesses as employers—to help realize human resource development goals.

 

Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities

 

 

Given the changing global environment and disasters such as typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and health pandemics, APEC 2015 will prioritize the goals of resilience, sustainability and food security.

 

As trade in the Asia-Pacific continues to be increasingly integrated and interlinked by production and supply chains, disaster-related disruptions in these interwoven chains can hurt both the supply and demand side. The cross-border effects of disasters thus make regional mechanisms and contingencies more necessary. Preparedness such as investing in resilient infrastructure, rather than just relief and recovery, are coming to the fore of APEC’s agenda. APEC looks to create and promote risk reduction and management, build SMEs’ resilience to disaster, and ensure business continuity.

 

Faced by the need to better manage its food and energy requirements, APEC’s agenda will also include initiatives to enhance food security and the Blue Economy in the APEC region by promoting coastal management, sustainable fishing and marine conservation.